TECHNOLOchicas conference aims to get young Latinas in STEM careers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- Actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria was the keynote speaker at a conference this week that's encouraging young Latinas to find jobs in math and science.

The actress just got her Masters degree from Cal State Northridge in Chicano studies and wrote a thesis about the value of Latinas in STEM careers.

Right now, Latinas make up only about one percent of the nation's computing workforce. "You cannot be what you cannot see," Longoria said.

Longoria talked about her research at the TECHNOLOchicas conference at the Google campus and led a discussion with top science and tech executives from all over the nation.

On the panel were women like Qualcomm's Vice President Vicki Mealer-Burke. "And if today we reach one young Latina in the audience who wasn't really thinking about pursuing a stem career and now does, um it's well worth it," she said.

TECHNOLOchicas is more than a one-day conference or catchy name, it's also a group of young women dedicated to local outreach.

These Latinas hold jobs at NASA, Pinterest, and Google to name a few. "TECHNOLOchicas for me is exactly that, it's a window to share this message that no matter where you are, who you are, what you like, you can do it," Google employee Karina Canales said.

Women like Canales from Peru, whose successful YouTube channel in her native country reached over 20 million views.

TECHNOLOchicas commit to doing at least four events with local girls, like visiting schools or talking at other conferences targeting preteens and teens.

"I think it's important for Latinas, particularly because for our culture there has been a history of different expectations for women and that's part of what we're trying to change," Canales said.
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